The Broad Brush: Your Alameda news in 60 seconds

The Broad Brush: Your Alameda news in 60 seconds

Michele Ellson

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence local news review. Here’s what happened on the Island this week.

What are your hopes and dreams for Site A and Alameda Point? Our conversation is taking place here.

The City Council was to get its first look at proposed budgets for the next two years at a budget hearing on Thursday night. The city has prepared an $80.5 million general fund budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year that contains no cuts, a projected $1.4 million surplus and a fund balance of more than $30 million. But salaries and benefits are expected to push the city’s spending to increase to $83.1 million in 2016-17, which could mean some depletion of the balance or cuts are in the offing.

East Bay water officials are imposing mandatory restrictions on water use to conserve water in the face of an extreme drought. Officials with the East Bay Municipal Utility District are requiring customers to cut their water use by 20 percent compared with their 2013 use, in order to comply with new state regulations requiring the district to cut water use by that amount and to deal with shrinking water reserves and uncertainty about where additional water might come from or when the drought may end.

City officials are recommending the City Council approve a permanent civilian staffer to create and execute plans to help Alameda bounce back quickly from a range of disasters – the third position the city is creating to better prepare it for disasters. The proposal comes roughly a year after the city lost a lucrative grant that could have helped fund a chief resilience officer who would have served as a high-level point person who would work with a broad array of stakeholders to identify and address resilience challenges.

City officials have released proposed contracts for police and firefighters that they’re heralding as a fresh step toward trimming Alameda’s burgeoning pension and retiree health liabilities. The amended agreements establish a trust fund that city officials say will generate $47 million to help cover health benefits for safety employees who retire in 2019 and beyond.

Spring is here, and even with the drought, flowers are blooming, and trees are putting on their frills. Over at Megan Small Photography, Megan Small is getting ready to celebrate her first year of business in Alameda (her seventh year overall) – and keeping busy with the demand that spring and the quickly approaching Mother’s and Father’s Day holidays create.

News in brief(er): A new assisted living facility is almost ready for residents … and an Alameda medical lab settled a federal suit charging it with making false medical claims.